There’s been a slow but very noticeable trend going on in my inbox. And it is what I describe as the “invasion of the text messagers”. People who think its ok to send you very short, abrupt emails that clearly owe their origins to SMS and Twitter. They think they are limited in every communication to about 140 characters. And that somehow picking up the phone and talking to me is a strange and weird novelty.

Now it might be that on their personal mobile phone they’ve got unlimited texts and only a few precious minutes of talk time. However business is about people. And communication skills – including writing – are what employers often want to see. Not emoticons and SMS abbreviations posing as serious business communication.

Stepping back I think there are two distinct issues:-

1. Using email when it isn’t appropriate.

2. Assuming that using email somehow releases you from the general rules of good written business communication.

There’s an important message here for job seekers who I think often rely too much on email. Effective networking is critical to looking for a new job and email is often no substitute for talking to someone. If you do use email then the quality of what you write is critical to your “personal brand”. Sloppy, text message style emails can create exactly the wrong impression with a recruiter.

Is this just me or is it a real problem? Views on a postcard (or a tweet) welcomed! As far as I know (which is what, after Googling it, I now know AFAIK stands for) good business communication skills are still a critical part of working life.